Peaker power plants are contributing to dirty energy grids
Peaker plants run the least time but contribute most to our dirty energy grids globally.
Power plants meet our electrical needs but at the cost of polluting the environment. A peaker plant is a plant that emits when energy usage spikes and helps with peak demand.
Nearly all types of peaker plants take a toll on the environment, creating energy from fossil fuels.
Although peaker plants are known to be “on call” and run less than 4 percent of the time, less than 300 hours per year, they account for 2 to 3 times the carbon emissions of a typical power plant and significant air pollution.
There are more than 1000 fossil fuel peaker plants in the USA, with cities like New York, Washington DC, Chicago, and Los Angeles housing more than other metropolitan regions.
Peaker power plants release pollutants, such as gases, chemicals, and ashes, into our environment and personal health. Read on to learn more about the impact of these pollutants produced by peaker power plants.
What is a peaker plant?
Daily electricity comes from standard or “baseload” power plants. Worldwide, power plants release over 300 billion carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Peaker plants are powered to meet peak demand in cities and generally are less efficient and have higher emission rates of greenhouse gases than typical power plants.
On average, peaker plants emit 60 million tons of CO2 each year. Considering that they run less than 5 percent of the time, they significantly contribute to climate change.
Carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions is no longer a buzzword, thanks to the ever-increasing environmental awareness campaigns worldwide.
Fossil fuel inefficiencies cost billions of dollars and triple our carbon emissions. As time goes on, the cost will rise, and political issues associated with market manipulation from national and international sources will only go up.
Peaker plants create hazardous living conditions
Approximately 32 million people in the US live within three miles of a peaker power plant.
Residents nearby are at higher risk of various health problems and extreme weather conditions.
Many peaker plants are in disadvantaged communities: residents are primarily low-income and people of color.
In those areas, the air pollution from peaker plants exposes communities to high levels of health and environmental issues. Some of the various problems include asthma to heart disease.
Energy storage to replace peaker plants
Environmental and technological advocates are placing peaker plants as a high priority for replacement. To produce cleaner air and reduce CO2 emissions, experts suggest energy and battery storage as great alternatives.
IoT companies, like Therma°, use sensors to preserve energy by sending alerts and preventing machine breakdowns.
Energy storage essentially uses a system to store or charge energy for a subset of time and supply the power for later. As a sustainability effort, energy storage and renewable systems are expected to dominate globally in the coming years.
Other ways of reducing harm
Ultimately, burning fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) creates dirty energy leading to climate change.
Things Power Plants can do to Reduce the Damage to the Environment
- Using low-sulfur-content coal to minimize SO2 emissions.
- Using emissions control devices to treat the gases before they enter the power plant, including certain filters, electrostatic precipitators, and wet scrubbers.
- Spraying a lime solution into combustion gases to minimize SO2 emissions.
Due to US regulations, coal-fired plants are slowly closing down, but other sectors are rising. Natural gas is known to be a better energy source than coal. However, it’s still a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
The planet should be moving away from all carbon-producing energy sources or investing in healthier energy grids that reduce energy usage.
Innovative ways to generate energy are the goal over the next few years because it is vital for the planet’s health.
Therma° is combatting carbon emissions with IoT monitoring and finding new ways to automate a cleaner energy grid. If you are interested in trying Therma° in your business, click the link below to purchase.
Technology, Energy Innovation: Policy and. “So Much for Coal's Rebound - Plant Closures Come Roaring Back. It's Time to Unlock a Just Transition.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 14 Apr. 2022, https://www.forbes.com/sites/energyinnovation/2022/03/15/so-much-for-coals-rebound-plant-closures-come-roaring-back-smart-policy-must-unlock-a-just-transition/?sh=2414e87574e9.
California Peaker Power Plants - PSE Healthy Energy. https://www.psehealthyenergy.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/California.pdf.
Clean Energy Group. “Phase out Peakers.” Clean Energy Group, Clean Energy Group Https://Www.cleanegroup.org/Wp-Content/Uploads/Clean-Energy-Group-Logo-275x70px.Png, 2 Nov. 2021, https://www.cleanegroup.org/ceg-projects/phase-out-peakers/.